Retirement Planning

Age in Place With These 4 Home Upgrades

Brett Garrett

March 31, 2019

If you or a loved one is choosing to forgo a nursing home or assisted living facility to stay home and age in place, there are four renovations you should make now to prevent accidents and make your life more comfortable as you age.

Replace Your Shower or Tub

Bathroom safety is one of the primary concerns for aging in place. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one in four people aged 65 and older will fall each year. Most of these falls happen in the bathroom, given the additional moisture and slippery surfaces.

To create a more functional bathroom that minimizes fall risk, you need barrier-free access to your tub or shower. If you have to step over anything to get in to your tub or shower, you’re leaving yourself open to a fall.

Estimated Cost: $150-$4,000

You can add a few low-cost accessories like an anti-slip mat in your tub and shower as well as a bench and grab bars that your local handyman can install. Updating your entire shower is more expensive, especially depending on factors like whether or not you need new plumbing. However, this is an opportunity to also replace surrounding tile with anti-slip flooring and to remove any barriers to entry.

Update Your Flooring

Minimize the risk of falls throughout your house. Carpets, especially area rugs, make it easy to trip or get your shoe caught. And while you may not use a wheelchair or walker (and may not want to consider it ever happening), it’s best to prepare now for potential future needs. Materials like hardwood, vinyl, or laminate make it easier to get around.

Estimated Cost: $1.50-$8.00 per square foot

Hardwood floors may be lurking under your carpets and can be saved with sanding and resurfacing. Refinishing costs anywhere from $1.50 to $4.00 per square foot. If you’ll need brand-new hardwood floors, the cost is higher at $6 to $8 per square foot, plus a bit more for installation.

Of course, if you or a family member is able, the DIY route is cheaper. Online tutorials make it easy to install flooring yourself. Vinyl and laminate flooring is cheaper to buy and often cheaper to install, too, but consider how the material may affect your home’s value. While The Spruce says it’s hard to verify whether hardwood makes for a higher resale value, many real estate agents say homes with hardwood sell faster and for more money.

Add New Windows

Easier to clean, open, and close, new windows can help ensure you get the fresh air your house needs as well as ensure you can open your window in an emergency. Plus, the natural light from windows is important to see what you’re doing for safety’s sake and has a significant impact on your overall health, including your mood.

Estimated Cost: $550-$1,050 per window

Retirement Living Information Center suggests using double-hung windows. The size of your windows, material you choose, and other factors can influence the final per window cost.

Reposition Your Laundry Room

Once upon a time, carrying loads of laundry up and down stairs may have been bearable, but it’s not worth the risk of a fall. Make life easier on yourself and consider relocating your laundry room to the same level as your living space.

Estimated Cost: $120-$7,000

If you opt for a new laundry room, the average cost of renovating an 80-square-foot space is between $6,000 and $7,000. Fixr breaks down the cost, showing the various expenses—like plumbing, rewiring, carpentry, and new machines—that go into creating a new space.

If you only need to install washer and dryer hookups, the cost is significantly less—

between $120 and $180, depending on location, materials, and other factors. Thumbtack lets you estimate the cost for your area.

Fund Your Renovations

If you haven’t set aside money for home renovations, you can still age in place. For some homeowners, tapping into their home’s equity can be a smart way to fund the renovations needed to safely age in place. See if tapping into your home’s equity to future-proof your home makes sense for you.

Hometap Note: The opinions expressed in this post are for informational purposes only. To determine the best financing for your personal circumstances and goals, consult with a licensed advisor.

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Brett Garrett

is a

VP, Product Strategy

at Hometap.